THE Israeli government is permitting Nayif Hawatimah and Faruq al-Kaddoumi to attend the PLO Central Committee’s meeting in Ramallah.
The approval constitutes an acceptance of President Abbas’ request to permit senior members of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), and the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine, to attend the meeting.
It was also decided by the Israeli government to remove 180 Fatah and PFLP members from the list of fugitives, on condition that they undertake to lay down their weapons.
The Al Quds Al Arabi newspaper’s reaction to these and other similar developments has been to declare that, ‘Most of the behaviour of Palestinian Authority (PNA)] President Mahmud Abbas is characterised by an impulsion towards an unprecedented subordination to the United States and Israel without considering carefully the serious consequences that could result from taking such a course for the Palestine question and the future of the Arab-Israeli conflict.’
Its verdict on Abbas is that ‘Ever since Hamas took over the Gaza Strip and the collapse of the PNA’s security services that were affiliated to the warlords and the president’s office, President Abbas has been floundering in his decisions and stands and deepening his alliance with Israel, against his people or a large section of it, in return for some Western and especially US funds and aid.’
The result, claims the newspaper, is that, ‘Israel is now dealing with the PNA as though it was the authority of Antoine Lahad (the commander of the now-defunct Israeli-backed South Lebanon Army). . .
The verdict of the Quds al Arabi is that there is a trend surrounding Abbas that ‘harbour hatred towards the Arabs and Islam, and are demanding to be flung completely into the arms of Israel and America as the lifebuoy and the main gateway for defeating Hamas and restoring the situation to what it was prior to Hamas’ overwhelming victory in the Gaza Strip.’
It further accuses Abbas of being ‘not prepared to listen to the voices of reason and logic which consider his unbalanced decisions wrong, and which ask him to return to legitimacy and the correct path, and to shun bungling stands.
‘Otherwise, how can one explain his accusation that Hamas is sheltering Al-Qaeda – a charge that means placing the overwhelming majority of the Palestinian people on the lists of terrorism and violence, and justifying all past and future Israeli massacres in the Gaza Strip?’
It concludes: ‘The overwhelming majority of President Abbas’ latest decisions are illegal, and therefore everything based on them is also illegal.
‘The emergency government he proclaimed as the only alternative to the national unity government wholly conflicts with the ruling of two Palestinian world legal experts, Anis al-Qasim, chairman of the legal committee in the Palestine National Council (PNC) and Professor Judge Eugene Qatran.
‘Al-Qasim and Qatran affirmed without any ambiguity that the emergency government loses its legitimacy if it is not approved by the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC, present elected Palestinian parliament), and that has not happened at all. . .
‘President Abbas wants to abolish the elected PLC and replace it with the unelected PLO Central Council. That is why he invited the Central Council to meet next week in order to call for new elections as soon as possible.’
The PLO Central Council does not include any of the new effective forces in the Palestinian arena, such as Hamas, Islamic Jihad, the Popular Resistance Committees, and the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades.
Most of the Palestinian factions represented in the PLO Central Council did not win a single seat in the latest parliamentary elections. The biggest number of seats held by the major factions – with the exception Fatah – in the PLC does not exceed two seats. The bloc of Salam Fayyad, who heads the emergency government, won only his seat and the seat of Mrs Hanan Ashrawi, his former partner in the bloc before she split from him.
Meanwhile, on Friday 13th July, Salam Fayyad, prime minister, submitted the resignation of his government to President Mahmud Abbas.
His resignation letter to President Abbas stated:
With reference to presidential decree dated 14 June 2007, declaring a state of emergency, and because the emergency period allowed according to the Basic Law is about to end, I hereby submit to you the resignation of my government (the 11th government), to allow you to take whatever action you deem necessary.
President Mahmud Abbas accepted the resignation of the emergency government, and entrusted Salam Fayyad with forming a new cabinet.
Meanwhile, Hamas leaders have condemned an ‘Israeli plot to assassinate Haniyah’, and warned of the consequences that would flow from any assassination attempt.
The Hamas-led caretaker government stated that it takes seriously press reports published on 13 July about Israeli schemes to assassinate Palestinian premier Isma’il Haniya.
The Al-Sinnarah newspaper, issued in the 1948-occupied Nazareth city, revealed that the Israeli mini-government known as the ‘political-security cabinet’ had taken a decision during a meeting last week sanctioning the assassination of Haniya.
Dr Ghazi Hamad, caretaker government spokesman stated that Haniya would take precautionary measures after uncovering the Israeli scheme to assassinate him, ‘which (if implemented) would entail serious repercussions at all levels’.
Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhum confirmed in a statement to the PLC that, ‘This is not the first time such statements are issued or assassination plots are uncovered against leaders of Hamas or other Palestinian resistance factions.’
Barhum warned that there is a programme to target and besiege Hamas and its leadership, as it achieved successive victories whether at the level of resisting the Israeli occupation, or at the level of controlling and restoring internal security.
He added that this scheme aims to eliminate Hamas from the Palestinian arena, which refuses to relinquish the national constants and rights, and to give way to a foreign agenda to be imposed on the Palestinian people.
He pointed out that despite the security precautions, Haniya will not stop assuming his duties.